Rotary Club and its Christmas Carnival grant: the facts

ON behalf of Hucknall Rotary Club, I would like to help a small number of district councillors and an anonymous member of the public out of their state of confusion with regard to the Ashfield District Council grant towards last year’s Hucknall Christmas Carnival (Dispatch of November 18 and 25).

To that end, I will list the real facts. I would also point out that the allegations were categorically denied by three Rotarians in the article published on November 18 (‘Bust-Up Snowballs Over Christmas Carnival Handout’).

Hucknall Rotary Club never has, and never will, object to being asked by appropriate bodies to account for its use of funds provided by public organisations. It does, however, find some difficulty with those who choose to go into print before they ascertain the true position.

The letter at the centre of these allegations was, in fact, sent by the Rotary Club to an officer of Ashfield Council in June to explain what had happened to the funds after the cancellation of last year’s Carnival due to the severe weather.

The letter did indeed ask the council’s permission to use the remaining £500 to support the Help For Heroes event in Hucknall — if it was acceptable to the council. There was no reply to this letter, and so the money was not used by the Rotary Club and was retained in its ring-fenced pot for this coming Carnival.

If Coun Chris Baron (Lab) had approached the relevant council officer, they would have discovered that the wording of the section of the letter was (as reported in the Dispatch) put in the form of a request.

Moreover, a little more research would have shown that the funding application, which governs the grounds on which any grant is approved, asked for details of the activity for which the grant is sought.

The Rotary Club’s answer, as it is each year, was for “the organisation and running of both the Hucknall Carnival......and other events for the benefit of local residents”.

In other words, the Rotary Club did not even have to make a request as to its use but still did so out of politeness.

In financial terms, it needs to be made clear that the grant from Ashfield Council (through the Hucknall Area Consultative Group) is most gratefully received. However it only represents approximately two-thirds of the actual cost of running what we believe is an event which brings pleasure to many thousands of local people.

It further needs to be made clear that this year’s grant, which was approved by seven of the nine councillors on the ACG, has been reduced by £500 to take account of last year’s underspend.

A further example of making a point without doing the necessary research is the assertion by Coun Ian Morrison (Lab) that Rotary has a healthy bank-balance.

While it is true that the Rotary Club has a reasonably large amount of money at the moment, a proper analysis of the accounts would show that almost all of it is earmarked for projects with which Rotary is involved.

An example of this is that just one ring-fenced pot, which accounts for almost two-thirds of the total, is to provide a specialised piece of machinery which will improve the life-chances of children in the paediatric intensive care unit at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Hucknall Rotary Club regrets the necessity for such a lengthy response but feels that this is the only way to answer those who have attempted to denigrate the integrity of an organisation which declares in its application to the ACG that it attempts to “promote and provide service to the benefit of everyone through the giving of voluntary help and resources”.

PETER SHERLOCK,

Public Relations Officer,

Hucknall Rotary Club.